On the eve of the Paris Climate Agreement coming into force, our new report provides a detailed snapshot of global action on climate change in the last 12 months.
TIME WARP TOOL
For a month-by-month comparison of climate progress in Australia versus the rest of the world, check out our Climate Action Time Warp tool:
Download our infographic for a snapshot of key climate milestones in 2016:
REPORT KEY FINDINGS
1. Countries have shown strong commitment to ratifying the Paris Agreement and it will come into force shortly before the upcoming international climate meeting in Morocco.
- At the time of publishing, 85 countries have ratified the agreement. Because these countries also cover more than 55% of global emissions, the Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016.
- To date, ten of the top twenty largest emitters, as well as the European Union have stepped up by ratifying the Paris Agreement.
2. The year since Paris has marked some of the most severe impacts of climate change we have seen to date, underscoring the need for urgent action.
- Record sea-surface temperatures driven by climate change resulted in devastating coral bleaching all over the world, with 93% of individual reefs on the Great Barrier Reef affected.
- India and the Middle East experienced extreme and deadly heatwaves, with temperatures reaching around 50°C.
- Louisiana experienced a 1-in- 500 year rainfall event - the eighth such event in the US in the past twelve months.
- 2015, the year leading up to the Paris Agreement, was the hottest year on record. 2016 is virtually certain to be even hotter than 2015 and, yet again, become the hottest year on record globally.
3. Australia has made little progress on climate action since the Paris Agreement and other countries have expressed doubt about Australia’s ability to meet its Paris commitments without serious changes.
- Australia, one of the highest per capita emitters in the world and among the top 20 countries for overall emissions, has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement.
- Australia’s emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030 (on 2005 levels) relies on the introduction of energy productivity and vehicle efficiency measures, which the federal government has yet to bring into force.
- The most recent update of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions shows our emissions are rising.
- Countries including China and the United States have put more than 30 questions to the Federal Government, asking for detail about how Australia will meet its 2030 emissions reduction target and raising concerns about a lack of transparency over how the government calculates and reports emissions.
4. The Paris Agreement has triggered further momentum in the business and energy sectors as well as agreements between countries to strengthen their climate action.
- Renewable energy continues to go from strength to strength with record investment and installations of new power capacity. The costs for wind and solar power are continuing to fall and the number of countries with renewable energy targets has reached an all-time high of 173.
- North American leaders jointly pledged to reach 50% of the continent’s electricity from clean power sources (including renewable energy) by 2025.
- 81 corporations, including some of the world’s largest companies, have pledged to reach 100% renewable energy.
- Countries have agreed to limit emissions in a number of industries not covered by the Paris Agreement, including aviation and hydrofluorocarbons.
- Global coal consumption decreased for the first time this century. China’s National Energy Administration has placed a moratorium on new coal fired power plants, and will close 500 million tonnes of coal production by 2020.
- However despite progress, greater efforts are needed to be on track to meet the 2°C target.
5. Countries will need to increase their emissions reduction pledges made under the Paris Agreement to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
- The next step under the Paris Agreement process is for countries to submit their long-term strategies that will outline how they will meet their emission reduction targets by 2020. However countries are expected to deliver them much earlier than that.
- Countries will need to increase their ambition over time to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C.